Talent Pulse 4.2 Research Released: Making Referral Programs Count

May 31, 2017 | Randi Kenney | HCI
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It’s hard to believe we’re already halfway through Q2 this year! For HCI, another quarter means another new Talent Pulse report. If you aren’t already familiar with Talent Pulse, its proprietary research from HCI aligned to each of our four communities. We produce insightful findings and recommendations that shape strategy and encourage action across the continuum of talent management. This time, we’ve focused on a hot topic in our Acquire the Right Talent community—sourcing quality candidates from employee referral networks.

The referral is a powerful tool in the world of marketing. When is the last time you asked a friend for a restaurant recommendation? Perhaps a colleague said to you, “This was a great event! You should really consider joining me next time!” Would a statement like that make you more likely to try something new? A recent National Harris Poll shows that 82% of Americans seek recommendations from friends and family when considering a purchase. In this case, we’re simply talking about a consumer purchase. Do the same trends applied to individuals looking for a place to work?

As it turns out, it’s not quite that cut-and-dry when it comes to talent acquisition. In this study, we surveyed over 200 organizations to uncover how employers are designing, implementing, and measuring the success of their employee referral programs. For our survey respondents, job boards and employee referrals are the two most common sources of hire. Twenty-nine percent of organizations have increased the usage of referrals compared to last year in order to maintain a competitive edge in this candidates’ market.

But there is still room for improvement. While 85% of HR respondents agreed that employees are their most effective employer branding tool, only 41% of respondents would recommend their place of work to a friend. Survey respondents shared some best practices in this regard: “First, create compelling work and a compelling place to work. It makes the ‘sell’ much easier. Pushing against an unmotivated workforce will not bring any benefits for referral.”

The employee experience is just the beginning. The research report also explores how to build referral programs, best practices for communicating incentives and open positions, and even the impact of referrals on diversity and inclusion. The full report is free to HCI Learners, and can be downloaded here. For a guided tour of the research, view the webcast on demand featuring HCI’s Head of Research, Jenna Filipkowski, PhD; MaryFran Heinsch, Senior Research Analyst; and Aubrey Wiete, Senior Director of Content Solutions.